5 Affordable Suburbs to Move to If You Don’t Want to Pay for Seattle

5 Affordable Suburbs to Move to If You Don’t Want to Pay for Seattle

“It took 28 offers for us to buy a house in Seattle,” a Reddit user shared in a recent post. “They will have to bury me in this house. I’m never leaving.” 

That experience is actually common in the hot Seattle real estate market, so many home shoppers are looking to the suburbs to score a better deal. Though the median home value in Seattle is $863,058 and the median monthly rent is $1,595, there are still nearby suburbs with homes for under $600,000. Here are five affordable suburbs of Seattle to consider packing up for.

Median home value: $556,979
Median monthly rent: $1,275

Home to airplane manufacturer Boeing, you’ll have plenty of career opportunities in this waterfront community 30 minutes north of Seattle. Everett has a charming downtown complete with a dreamy historic theater. A $3 ferry ride gets you to Jetty Island, the longest stretch of sandy beach in Puget Sound. Breweries, restaurants, and distilleries also abound here.

Median home value: $593,722
Median monthly rent: $1,410

Thanks to a new light rail station that will connect Mountlake Terrace to Seattle, this affordable suburb is worth a look. Seattle real estate agent Jia Tang recommends Mountlake Terrace to commuters because I-5 gets you to Seattle in 15 minutes. In addition, restaurants, cafes, and parks make Mountlake Terrace a popular (but not too popular) place to live. 

Median home value: $815,365
Median monthly rent: Unavailable

If you’re the outdoorsy type, Duvall is the suburb for you. Tang says Duvall offers many hiking, biking, and trail running spots. More rural than the other options on this list, Duvall offers quieter living, charming local shops, and a 35-minute drive to Seattle. There aren’t many rentals in Duvall, so this area is best for buyers.

Median home value: $795,218
Median monthly rent: $1,473

Tang recommends this waterfront town for its mix of urban and suburban living. Spend the day in Edmonds exploring the farmers market and local beaches, or drive 20 minutes south to Seattle for big-city amenities. “Edmonds is affordable, very safe, and there are good schools,” she says. “A lot of people come here to retire because there are lots of condos with water views.” 

Median home value: $654,202
Median monthly rent: $1,778

Maple Valley is a growing commuter town 30 miles southeast of Seattle, where new subdivisions, communities, and local businesses pop up frequently. “It’s a great place to raise a family because housing is still relatively affordable, and there’s land for new construction,” Tang says.

You’ll have access to all the nature you can handle. Take a sunny stroll through Lake Wilderness Arboretum or hike the Maple Valley Gnome Trail (yes, really) with the kids. It’s also an easy seven-minute drive to Tiger Mountain State Forest, a beloved 13,745-acre hiking destination with hiking trails, camping spots, and classic Pacific Northwest scenery. 

Competition is stiff right now, but hang in there. Seattle real estate agent Katie Melton tells her clients that aiming for the suburbs allows more room to compete. “It will happen,” she says. “A lot of factors are working against you in this market, so it’s not you.” She recommends not getting too emotionally invested in a home until you sign a contract. “I also remind clients that they will be successful in their search,” she adds. “I’ve never had a client not get a house.”

Moving? Here Are 5 of the Best Ways to Unpack, According to an Expert

Moving? Here Are 5 of the Best Ways to Unpack, According to an Expert

I often think that packing is the most stressful part of a move. But for those of us (ahem, including yours truly) for whom organization doesn’t come naturally, unpacking can make for an even more hectic experience.

Regardless of whether your packing style is more Marie Kondo or mass chaos, give yourself a bit of grace and know that unpacking and arranging your new home will take a while.

“One day is not enough for you to unpack your entire life into a new space,” says author and organizing expert Mary Carlomagno. Here are some of her best tips that will keep you from feeling too overwhelmed as you get settled into your new space — however long it takes.

Put boxes in their corresponding rooms.

Instead of adding to a towering pile right as you step in the front door of your new home, move the boxes to the rooms or areas where they will eventually be unpacked. (Hopefully you’ve already labeled those boxes so that you’re not putting toiletries in the kitchen and bakeware in the bathroom.) 

Another rule of thumb: if you have an additional room that you didn’t have in your former home, such as a spare bedroom or a dining room, you can store boxes there until you are ready to organize that extra space. Of course, if you’re moving into a studio apartment, Carlomagno says don’t panic. Just pick a corner as a “staging area” for boxes and work from there.

Carlomagno uses an alphabet system to distinguish the urgency for unpacking boxes. “A” indicates items that require frequent touch, like toiletries or a coffee maker or teapot. “B” is for things that should be kept within arm’s reach but might not be needed every day. Then there’s “C,” which is reserved for occasional or seasonal items, like holiday decorations and skis that can remain packed for a bit longer, especially if you’re moving during the summer months.

Focus on one room at a time.

After you’ve cleaned the space, it’s time to start unpacking. The kitchen, bathrooms, and bedrooms are typically the most important spaces to organize first, but organizing the rest of your space depends on your needs.

Carlomagno advises that you take it slow, taking it box by box and focusing on one room at a time. “The reason that people are overwhelmed by organizing and stay disorganized and throw their hands up in the air is because they try to do much at one time,” she says. 

Carlomagno’s philosophy about getting a storage unit is a simple one: “Don’t do that.”

Well, she’ll give you a pass if you’re downsizing a mansion’s worth of valuable antiques and art and need time to figure out what to do with it all. But if we’re talking about unused fitness equipment, clothing that no longer fits, or household items that are worn out or even broken, then sell them or get rid of them. 

“The key is to edit your stuff before you leave,” Carlomagno says, noting that paying money for storage is just “shipping off your decision [to keep something or not] to another location.”

Enlist the help of a super-organized friend.

If you know someone who’s incredibly organized, Carlomagno says they’ll likely be dying to get into your apartment to help out. So go ahead, ask them for help unpacking. “It’s always a fantastic thing to do with your bossiest friend,” she says. 

There’s no shame in asking for help, and unless you’re an expert like Carlomagno, there’s no shame in taking more (or much more) than a weekend to get yourself organized.

“Release the idea of the finish line and start putting in place little things you can do every day to get you there,” she says.

These Are the Most Difficult Things to Move, According to Professional Movers

These Are the Most Difficult Things to Move, According to Professional Movers

Fitness aficionados, I hate to break it to you, but according to professional movers, gym equipment is among the most difficult things to move. That and other bulky, oddly shaped items are usually better off left to the professionals. 

“They’re hard to grasp, they’re hard to get through doors, they’re hard to stack,” says Joey Sasson, COO of Moving APT, a Miami-based interstate moving company. “All the odd-shaped heavy items are the worst things to move.”

If you’re planning on moving on your own and have any of the below items waiting to get loaded onto a truck, it’s probably best to call in the pros.

Here’s the problem with fish tanks: they’re all glass. Sasson says they’re rarely made from reinforced glass, either, so they’re extra fragile. You have to be extra delicate when you’re handling it, wrapping it, and moving it.

“You have to make sure everything is covered with bubble wrap and afterwards, if it fits into a box, you can put it into a box,” Sasson says. “If it’s larger than a regular-size box, you’ll probably have to build some sort of crate for it to make sure you can transport it without affecting the glass. You can’t just put it on a dolly because the glass will crack.”

The good news here is that if you have an upright piano, it’s pretty easy to move — aside from being fairly heavy. With a couple strong friends you can likely move that yourself. But if you have a baby grand or grand piano, it becomes more complicated.

“Before you start wrapping it, you have to remove the legs,” Sasson says. “You need someone to hold it up while someone else is taking the legs off. Then you can flip it on it’s side and strap it to a piano board, and then you need four people to carry it.”

You’ll also want to make extra sure the veneer on the piano is protected when you’re moving it — so think moving blankets, and lots of them.

Smaller inexpensive pieces of art aren’t that big a deal, especially if they can be bubble wrapped and safely put in a box. But for bigger pieces like sculptures and large valuable paintings, you have to be extra careful. Usually that means wrapping it well and using a wooden crate to transport it.

“It’s not something you want to risk,” Sasson says. “You really want to protect it.”

According to Sasson, workout equipment is the single most difficult thing to move. It’s bulky, it’s awkward, and it’s complicated to take apart and put back together — especially if you’re not trained in how to do it (which most of us aren’t). Plus, you can’t really stack stuff on top of it because it’s not square, and you aren’t going to want heavy pieces of workout equipment stacked on your other belongings.

“Maybe the only things that could be square are the weights, but then you have to contend with the fact that they’re weights,” Sasson points out. “Gym equipment is not made to be dainty.”

Jennifer Billock


Jennifer Billock is an award-winning writer, bestselling author, and editor. She is currently dreaming of an around-the-world trip with her Boston terrier.

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5 Things Experts Want You to Know About Moving Your Plants to a New Apartment

5 Things Experts Want You to Know About Moving Your Plants to a New Apartment

Moving can be as stressful for plants as it is for tenants. Making sure your indoor garden remains unscathed when being transported from one location to the next requires preparation and planning, but whether you’re a homeowner or a renter, one thing’s for sure: ensuring your plants are healthy and happy (and your lobby free of soil) can be quite the project.

Here’s what experts suggest for keeping your plants healthy and happy as they move to their new home.

The two most important things to consider are time and temperature. 

Sweltering or frigid temperatures can be fatal for plants, so be aware of how much time houseplants will spend in a vehicle or outdoors as you move your belongings. Will Creed, owner of indoor plant consulting service Horticultural Help, warns that while a plant can cook on a hot day, the opposite is true in the winter time.

“On a very, very cold day, even just a minute or two of carrying the plant from your home, just outside, putting it in a vehicle, just being outside, pressure can freeze the leaves,” he says. If you’re using professional movers, Creed suggests that plants are “last on, first off” so that they’re not inside or enclosed in a vehicle for more than an hour and are protected from the elements.

Don’t re-pot them before your move. 

While many people believe that re-potting plants in plastic (or removing them from their pots entirely) will make things lighter on moving day, Creed maintains that plants should not be re-potted in advance. “People have strange reasons for doing that. None of them are valid,” he says.

Different sized plants require different methods of protection. 

While smaller plants can be protected with a plastic sleeve or bubble wrap around the pot and foliage and then transported, Creed has a different method for larger varieties to keep leaves and soil intact.

“It is possible to take a larger tree and put it on its side and lay it on the floor of the vehicle,” he explains. “But if you do that … I do recommend getting some newspaper or any kind of a paper or plastic bubble wrap, putting it over the top surface of the soil and then getting some moving packing tape and taping that material in place over the top of the pot. The point of that is if the plant is tipped on its side, all the soil is not going to fall out.”

Many moving companies are wary about moving plants. 

Due to their delicate, perishable and often messy nature, many moving companies do not like transporting plants long distances because of the liability. However, Ryan Carrigan of Move Buddha believes plant lovers should seek out other methods to make sure their plants are moved safely. “DIY options like rental trucks and moving containers can be good alternatives to moving companies for those who really want to move their plants,” he says.

Be mindful of moving your plants across state lines. 

If you’re moving to a new state, do your research on state laws. “Some states have different rules about moving in new plants, particularly plants that aren’t native to the state,” Carrigan says.

Talk to your movers about your plants before the day of your move. 

Many moving companies have policies about plants. You may have to sign a waiver if your company agrees to transport them, so before the day of your move, talk to your movers (and be sure to include your plants in your move quote) about liability and what materials they’ll provide to help protect your plants.

Maggie Coughlan


Maggie Coughlan has written for Page Six, the New York Post, People.com, Gilt Group and Paste magazine. She lives in New York City, where she drinks an inconceivable amount of tea.

The 117 Best Moving Tips of All Time

The 117 Best Moving Tips of All Time

2. Moving in the summer? Try to avoid it, if you can. It’s the busiest, costliest, and most competitive time to move (not to mention the sweatiest!). Reach out to your landlord to see if you can move out sooner or extend your lease by a couple of months. Not only will you save money on moving costs, you might even end up getting a better deal on an apartment — and maybe even a sweeter setup.